Squash and Sage Risotto with Braised Flank Steak

On a beautiful fall day last week I was having some friends over for a chill dinner. I wanted to make something that I didn't have to slave over, and that most of the work could be done ahead of time. I was craving some fall flavors, and a squash risotto fit all the requirements. It was perfect because I could put the meat in the oven and start the risotto before people came over, then just stir a bit as we all caught up over a bottle of wine.
I blended up the onion, celery, and carrot in this dish to use in the meat cooking liquid and also the risotto itself. The half cooking here shown is getting browned and put into the meat cooking liquid. Browned carrot, onion, and celery along with some vinegar, garlic, and sage. The browned veggie mixture is poured over the meat and it goes into the oven for a few hours. And here is the squash. I love kabocha squash because it has a super hearty almost sweet potato like texture. Here is the rest of that onion carrot celery mixture forming the base of the risotto. The squash was just chopped and roasted. Dump it all in! by the time the risotto is done cooking the squash has pretty much disolved. And the meat is ready! The risotto is super earthy but the beef on top has strong umami flavors with a hit of acid to cut through the thick heavyness of the rice. The flavors in this were great and serving the meat on top adds a bit of flair to the presentation.
 

Squash and Sage Risotto with Braised Flank Steak

For:  5 Servings

  • 1 Onion
  • 3 Carrots
  • 3 Ribs Celery
  • 1.5 Cups Arborio Rice
  • 1/2 Large Kabocha Squash
  • 1 Cup White Wine
  • 7 Cups Beef Stock
  • 1/2 Cup Grated Parm
  • 7 Sage Leaves
  • 4 Cloves Garlic
  • 1/2 Cup Red Vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1.5 Pounds Flank Steak (Cut against the grain in 1.5 Inch slices)

Instructions

  1. Put the onion, carrot, and celery into the food processor and pulse until it is a chunky paste. Take half of this and put it into a frying pan with some oil. Cook until browned, about 30 minutes. Put this into a food processor with 2 cloves garlic, 2 sage leaves, the vinegar, worcestershire, and one cup of the stock. Blend until smooth. Pour over the beef and pop it into the oven until tender. About 3 hours.
  2. Dice the squash and roast until tender and lightly browned, about 20 minutes.
  3. Put the other half of the onion carrot celery paste into the pot you are cooking the risotto in. Cook with a little butter until just lightly starting to brown, about 8-10 minutes. Add in the remaining two cloves of garlic (Minced) and the arborio rice. Cook about 5 minutes to coat the rice with the butter and lightly toast. Add the wine and stir. Cook until the wine has reduced a little. Add the stock about a cup at a time, cooking and stirring until it needs more liquid. About halfway through the cooking, add in the squash. 3/4 of the way in add the rest of the sage all chopped up. As you stir and continue to cook the risotto the squash will pretty much dissolve into the mixture.
  4. When the rice is tender and the beef is tender, go ahead and serve it! Remove the rice from the heat and stir in the parm. Put the risotto into a bowl and top with a few pieces of the beef.